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UN Security Council Condemns North Korea Rocket Launch
Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20697922
Source Date: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Korea (Democratic People's Republic of)
Created: Dec 12, 2012

The UN Security Council has condemned North Korea for launching a rocket in defiance of UN resolutions.

The Council president, Moroccan ambassador Mohammed Loulichk, described the launch as "a clear violation of Security Council resolutions".

The US says Pyongyang will face "consequences" for the launch, calling it a "highly provocative act that threatens regional security".

The US and its allies view the launch as a disguised ballistic missile test.

White House spokesman Jay Carney would not specify what "consequences" Washington was considering, saying it would first assess what action was taken by the Security Council.

Western diplomats would like the UN statement of condemnation to be followed by a resolution in the coming days, says the BBC's Barbara Plett at the UN.

Whether a UN resolution would strengthen existing sanctions depends on China, a permanent member of the Security Council and North Korea's closest ally, our correspondent adds.

So far Beijing has expressed "regret" at North Korea's action, but also urged restraint on any counter measures.

The Unha-3 rocket, launched at 09:49 local time (00:49 GMT), appears to have followed its planned trajectory, with stages falling in expected areas.

North Korea says a satellite has been placed in orbit; the US confirmed an object had been put into space.

US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the launch was "another example of North Korea's pattern of irresponsible behaviour".

The launch comes a week ahead of the South Korean presidential election and roughly a year after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, on 17 December 2011.

'Extremely regrettable'
The three-stage rocket blasted off from a site on North Korea's west coast.

"The launch of the second version of our Kwangmyongsong-3 [Unha-3] satellite from the Sohae Space Centre... on December 12 was successful," state news agency KCNA said. "The satellite has entered the orbit as planned."

The rocket had been scheduled to pass between the Korean peninsula and China, with a second stage coming down off the Philippines.

The Japanese government, which put its armed forces on alert ahead of the launch, said the rocket had passed over parts of Okinawa prefecture, south of the Japanese mainland.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, meanwhile, called an emergency meeting of his top advisers. His foreign minister said the government strongly condemned the launch.

Britain has summoned the North Korean ambassador for urgent talks.

Foreign Office Minister Sayeeda Warsi told parliament the ballistic missile test was unacceptable.

North Korea, which had said the launch could be delayed due to a technical problem, is believed to be working on the development of a long-range missile capable of reaching the west coast of the US mainland.

It has not previously successfully launched a three-stage rocket. Its most recent test, in April 2012, ended in failure, when the rocket flew for only a few minutes before exploding and crashing into the sea west of the Korean peninsula.

Officials fear it could be working towards a missile on which a nuclear warhead could be mounted - but it is not thought to have fully developed either the missile or the warheads yet.
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